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College Football
Preview
North Carolina at Duke
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, November 20, 2014
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, North Carolina

After suffering its first home loss of the season, No. 25 Duke will look to protect its home turf when it faces arch-rival North Carolina on Thursday. The Blue Devils scored the first 10 points before coughing up three turnovers in a 17-16 loss to Virginia Tech, but a game against a Tar Heels' defense that has allowed 27 or more points in every contest may be a boon for David Cutcliffe's offense. "We probably did leave some points on the field," Cutcliffe told the media. "Field goals and touchdowns are two really different things. They (Virginia Tech) are good at taking advantage of mistakes you make and they did that. He (Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster) created issues for us that we didn't respond to very well."

With a victory over Pittsburgh last week, the Tar Heels have won three of their last four contests since a four-game losing streak that included a 34-17 defeat to Virginia Tech. Shakeel Rashad recovered a fumble caused by Malik Simmons to seal the win for Larry Fedora's team, which will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak to the Blue Devils. "We had a lot of adversity throughout the game and sometimes it gets the better of us with big plays or whatever," Rashad told the media. "But we fight back and when it really comes time to bow our necks and make a play, I think we're pretty good at doing that."

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Duke -5.5

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (5-5, 3-3 ACC): As if losing to the Blue Devils isn't bad enough, the Tar Heels had the lead late in each of the last two meetings, only to watch Duke put up the final points. Last year, a field goal with two minutes left resulted in Cutcliffe being carried off the field in front of North Carolina fans as the Blue Devils clinched a berth in the ACC title game. "I don't have any doubt our team is going to prepare and be ready to play on Thursday," Fedora, whose teams needs a win against Duke or North Carolina State to become bowl-eligible, told reporters. "We plan on being in a bowl game. I don't know if it matters who we play, but I'm glad it worked out the way it did."

ABOUT DUKE (8-2, 4-2): In his weekly press conference, Cutcliffe spoke about what his team will need to do to succeed given the quick turnaround to a Thursday game. "It's a unique challenge. When you get into this circumstance, history tells you that you've got to do the things that you do best. When you have a fast turnaround, you depend on what you know best, what you do best in every phase, whether its kicking, offense or defense. You better go out and get busy in improving your execution." What the Blue Devils do best is running the ball to the tune of 193.7 yards per game and defense, where they rank 11th in the nation with 18.1 points allowed per game.

EXTRA-POINTS

1. North Carolina has allowed 511.6 yards per game, fourth-worst in the nation and some 122 more than the next ACC team (Duke).

2. Despite the back-to-back losses, the Tars Heels hold a 58-38-4 lead in a series that began in 1888.

3. The last time the Blue Devils won three straight in the series came in 1987-89, but that was followed by a 1-21 stretch.

PREDICTION: Duke 27, North Carolina 20
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
North Carolina 5-5 W1 35.9 41.2 4-1 1-4 5-5 0-0 3-3
Duke 8-2 L1 32.9 18.1 4-1 4-1 6-2 1-0 4-2
Last Meeting
North Carolina Duke
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/30/13 DUKE 27 UNC 25 448 225 223 461 187 274
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
North Carolina M. Williams 47.2 223 1 2
Duke A. Boone 67.6 274 2 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
North Carolina M. Williams 16 104 6.5 2
Duke S. Powell 9 57 6.3 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
North Carolina E. Ebron 5 121 24.2 0
Duke B. Braxton 5 70 14.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
North Carolina M. Williams 2
Duke J. Crowder 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
North Carolina M. Williams 63.2 2502 18 8
Duke A. Boone 56.5 1970 14 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
North Carolina M. Williams 141 623 4.4 10
Duke S. Wilson 64 553 8.6 4
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
North Carolina M. Hollins 32 605 18.9 7
Duke J. Crowder 64 767 12.0 4
Touchdowns Player TD
North Carolina M. Williams 11
Duke T. Sirk 7
Quickchart Matchup
North Carolina Off vs  Duke Def
431.1 yards
389.7 yards
3.8 yards/rush
4.4 yards/rush
7.2 yards/attempt
5.9 yards/attempt
Duke Off vs  North Carolina Def
396.1 yards
511.9 yards
5.3 yards/rush
4.9 yards/rush
5.5 yards/attempt
8.8 yards/attempt